As The Infrastructure Bill Inches Forward

There are a few twists and turns in the process of dealing with the infrastructure bill that is before Congress.

The Epoch Times reported yesterday:

Buried in the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” in the U.S. Senate is approval for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to test a new federal tax on every mile driven by individual Americans.

The bill directs Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to establish a pilot program to demonstrate a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee designed “to restore and maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.”

The objectives of the pilot program include:

To test the design, acceptance, implementation, and financial sustainability of a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee.

To address the need for additional revenue for surface transportation infrastructure and a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee.

To provide recommendations relating to the adoption and implementation of a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee.

Although the new tax is described as a pilot program and would initially rely upon “volunteers” representing all 50 states, the infrastructure measure would also require the Treasury Department to establish a mechanism to collect motor vehicle per-mile user fees from the participants.

Make no mistake–this will eventually be a tax on all Americans if it is allowed to go through.

On Monday, Breitbart reported:

Earlier in the year, President Joe Biden nominated Gayle (Manchin – Senator Joe Manchin’s wife) to be the co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. This commission is an economic development partnership involving the federal government and 13 states.

The Washington Times reported that the bill’s language makes the Appalachian Regional Commission “set to receive an additional billion dollars over the next four years. The new funding is set to increase the agency’s federal budget by more than 50% annually.” This year the commission requested $235 million from the taxpayer-funded federal government for their operation funding. That was already a 30 percent increase from the $175 million they received in 2020.

For this to possibly secure the senator’s vote, the commission, where his wife makes $160 thousand annually, is given an additional $200 million annually to focus on projects, which equals one billion dollars from fiscal years 2022 to 2026. The Times added:

ARC’s funding increase is significantly larger than other federal regional commissions are set to receive in the infrastructure package.

Apart from money, the infrastructure package also expands the ARC’s authority to increase broadband internet access by providing grants and “technical assistance.”

The text of the bill was originally obtained exclusively by Breitbart News from U.S. Senate sources not authorized to leak it after showing “concern that the murky and secretive process behind this bill may have led to widespread corruption throughout its nearly three thousand pages.”

When there are almost three thousand pages in a bill, there are bound to be some questionable items.

And finally, Zero Hedge posted the following today:

An already-tenuous $1 trillion infrastructure spending package has been thrown into further disarray this week, after lawmakers filed nearly 300 amendments to the legislation, according to The Hill, which notes that in several instances “senators are holding their colleagues’ amendments hostage by objecting to voting on them unless their own priorities are also guaranteed a vote.”

Stay tuned.

Much Needed Legislation

Being elected to Congress is a wonderful thing–the prestige, the recognition, joining a very select group of people, and seemingly the opportunity to increase your net worth significantly.

The following Tweet by ZeroHedge was tweeted on September 28, 2020:

Wow! An amazing increase in personal wealth that didn’t actually involve inventing or marketing a product! Unfortunately this is not an isolated example.

The article includes a few more examples from Business Insider:

Burr (North Carolina Senator Richard Burr), who endured a months-long federal investigation into his personal stock trades, last week reported making several recent stock sales along with his wife, Brooke Burr.

The Burrs sold up to $165,000 worth of stock in Enterprise Products Partners, a natural-gas and crude-oil pipeline company, between April 28 and April 30. The company’s stock price has remained effectively level since then.

Brooke Burr also reported selling up to $100,000 in MetLife Inc. floating-rate noncumulative preferred stock and up to $100,000 in US Bancorp depository preferred shares.

Burr, who wasn’t charged, made a flurry of stock sales on February 13, 2020, six days after cowriting an opinion article on FoxNews.com that sought to ease public concern over the threat COVID-19 posed to the US.

“Thankfully, the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus, in large part due to the work of the Senate Health Committee, Congress, and the Trump Administration,” Burr wrote along with then-Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.

But on February 27 of last year, Burr — then chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee — told a more dire story to a small, private luncheon gathering at Washington’s tony Capitol Hill Club.

“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” Burr said, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR’s Tim Mak. “It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”

The Justice Department’s investigation of Burr’s February 2020 stock trades, together valued at more than $1.7 million, centered on whether the senator made his trades based on insider information obtained during senators-only briefings about the COVID-19 threat.

Burr says he is not planning to run for reelection in 2022.

Business Insider also mentions Jim Inhofe:

An aviation enthusiast who announced his 2020 reelection bid by piloting a propeller plane upside down, Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican of Oklahoma, has regularly made news over the years for close-call incidents while flying.

More recently, Inhofe sought to remedy another aircraft situation — this time on paper.

In a May 17 letter to the US Senate Secretary Julie Adams, Inhofe acknowledged understating the value of the assets — most notably, airplanes — held by The Padre Company LLC, a limited-liability company that the senator controls.

As of 2019, Inhofe’s LLC held three aircraft together valued at up to $1 million: a 1979 Grumman Tiger, a 1999 RV-8, and a 1979 Cessna 340. It also included real estate.

Inhofe wrote that his letter provided a “total reconciliation of the life of my assets” within The Padre Company LLC, which formed in 1999.

In short, Inhofe had not been previously factoring in the value of the real-estate property as part of his public disclosure of the LLC. Now he is, which is why the reported value of the LLC has increased.

“Ahead of filing his annual disclosures each year, Senator Inhofe discusses it with the Ethics Committee to maximize transparency and ensure he is adhering to the spirit of the law, not just the letter of it,” the spokesperson Leacy Burke told Insider. “Previously, it had been understood that these were considered personal properties and exempt, unreportable assets. This year, in the interest of greater transparency, he was encouraged to file the amendment and include them, as you can see he did.”

It pays to be in Congress, and an attempt to end the insider trading that seems to be rampant there is coming from a rather unlikely source.

Zero Hedge reports:

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wants to end what is effectively legalized insider trading by members of Congress by barring them from trading individual stocks ever again.

Warren first attempted to push through similar legislation with the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act she introduced in 2018 and then again in 2020. Both bills unsurprisingly died in the Senate Finance Committee, which Warren sits on.

The renewed push comes as several members of Congress have come under recent scrutiny for profitable stock trades in recent months, according to Business Insider. The include Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and former Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia.

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.

 

When Intelligence Became A Political Operation

A friend sent me a link to the article below along with the following note:

Since Obama political appointees have infiltrated the Intelligence Community, it has gone political.   No one before Obama put political appointees there.  For example, in 2012 Obama put his White House lawyer as the NSA AG – never done before – always someone who knew the mission and had risen through the ranks held every position BUT the Director.  As Congress has to approve that position – that is the only position that was ever tainted with politics.  True for all other positions as well.   NSA, NGA, and DIA were always under the Department of Defense umbrella until 911.  After 911 they created a DNI – which caused loyalty issues for those that forgot we took an oath to the constitution not to any department or person.   That’s how Brennan got appointed.   That is how the spying on the Trump campaigned happened – Obama put people in place prior to the 2016 election to enable getting information about the opponent’s campaign to insure HRC won. 

On February 14th, 2021, Zero Hedge posted an article about what has happened to our intelligence community. The article is titled, “Opening The CIA’s Can Of Worms”

The article reports:

“The CIA and the media are part of the same criminal conspiracy,” wrote Douglas Valentine in his important book, The CIA As Organized Crime.

This is true.  The corporate mainstream media are stenographers for the national security state’s ongoing psychological operations aimed at the American people, just as they have done the same for an international audience. 

We have long been subjected to this “information warfare,” whose purpose is to win the hearts and minds of the American people and pacify them into victims of their own complicity, just as it was practiced long ago by the CIA in Vietnam and by The New York Times, CBS, etc. on the American people then and over the years as the American warfare state waged endless wars, coups, false flag operations, and assassinations at home and abroad.

Another way of putting this is to say for all practical purposes when it comes to matters that bear on important foreign and domestic matters, the CIA and the corporate mainstream media cannot be distinguished.

For those who read and study history, it has long been known that the CIA has placed their operatives throughout every agency of the U.S. government, as explained by Fletcher Prouty in The Secret Team; that CIA officers Cord Myer and Frank Wisner operated secret programs to get some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom among intellectuals, journalists, and writers to be their voices for unfreedom and censorship, as explained by Frances Stonor Saunders in The Cultural Cold War and Joel Whitney in Finks, among others; that Cord Myer was especially focused on and successful in “courting the Compatible Left” since right wingers were already in the Agency’s pocket. 

All this is documented and not disputed.  It is shocking only to those who don’t do their homework and see what is happening today outside a broad historical context.

With the rise of alternate media and a wide array of dissenting voices on the internet, the establishment felt threatened and went on the defensive. It, therefore, should come as no surprise that those same elite corporate media are now leading the charge for increased censorship and the denial of free speech to those they deem dangerous, whether that involves wars, rigged elections, foreign coups, COVID-19, vaccinations, or the lies of the corporate media themselves.

There is no way I can summarize this article, so I am asking you to please follow the link and read the entire article.

The article concludes:

Robert Kennedy, Jr., by name and dedication to truth seeking, conjures up his father’s ghost, the last politician who, because of his vast support across racial and class divides, could have united the country and tamed the power of the CIA to control the narrative that has allowed for the plundering of the world and the country for the wealthy overlords.

So they killed him.

There is a reason Noam Chomsky is an exemplar for Hedges, Greenwald, and Taibbi.  He controls the can opener for so many. He has set the parameters for what is considered acceptable to be considered a serious journalist or intellectual.  The assassinations of the Kennedys, 9/11, or a questioning of the official Covid-19 story are not among them, and so they are eschewed.

To denounce censorship, as they have done, is admirable. But now Greenwald, Taibbi, and Hedges need go up to the forbidden gate with the sign that says – “This far and no further” – and jump over it.  That’s where the true stories lie.  That’s when they’ll see the worms squirm.

If we don’t limit the actions of the Intelligence Community and their ability to control the news Americans actually receive, we will lose our republic.

 

 

 

Exactly What Is In The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill?

ZeroHedge posted an article today with the breakdown of the coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress.

The article includes the following chart:

You can decide for yourself how much of this is related to the coronavirus.

The article reports:

Within hours, Congress is set to vote on (and pass) a $900 billion Covid-19 aid bill that includes assistance for households and businesses, as well as funding for vaccine distribution and more. As discussed previously, the bill excludes the Republican priority of liability protections for businesses and other entities, and left the key Democrat demand of state and local bailouts.

In a nutshell, the new package extends federal UI programs (e.g. PUA, PEUC) with an extra $300/week for all UI claimants for at least an additional 11 weeks.

The article concludes:

One final point: no more stimulus?

As we reported last week, Goldman’s economists believe that this is the last major COVID-focused fiscal package. Assuming that President-elect Biden is facing a divided Congress next year, this looks likely to be the last fiscal package that Congress passes worth several hundred billion dollars or more (as by 2021 covid vaccines will be widely distributed making the passage of another broad-based stimulus virtually impossible). That said, Goldman does expect another debate over fiscal support in Q1, ahead of the expiration of the extended unemployment provisions in March. However, since Congress left the most difficult issues out of the current package, it seems unlikely that lawmakers will be able to agree on those in subsequent legislation. Of course, this would likely change if Democrats win both Senate seats in Georgia on January 5 and reach 50 seats in the Senate. In that scenario, Goldman would expect at least another few hundred billion in additional fiscal measures, including aid to states.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. I explains much of what is in this bill.

Modern Monetary Theory Ends In Ghana

Zero Hedge posted an article today with the headline, “Ghana Becomes First Country To Officially End MMT Experiment.” MMT is the abbreviation for Modern Monetary Theory. It’s basic tenet is that printing an endless supply of money and having a central bank fund the  deficit. Basically as long as the spending is kept within your own country, your citizens will not notice how worthless their money has become.

The article reports:

There are just two problems: MMT is neither modern, nor monetary, nor is it a theory, although economists – especially socialists – are delighted to define it as such as it validates their worldview that somehow society can get richer if only people print more money, as if nobody has thought of that before (spoiler alert: they have, and the consequences have been devastating every time).

We won’t waste readers’ time on the intellectually bankrupt garbage that is socialist philosophy (because it is nothing more than that) that is the “Magic Money Tree” (See “MMT: Not Modern, Not Monetary, Not A Theory“) but we will note that some countries are smart enough to know that going down the money printing route leads to disaster. We will also point out that it is not a western nation – all of those advanced countries are desperately printing money in hopes of sparking currency devaluation and at least modest hyperinflation – but an African country that is now the epitome of sound monetary practices.

On Friday, Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison effectively shut down MMT in his country when he ruled out providing more loans to the government to help narrow the budget shortfall, saying it would put exchange-rate stability at risk (for those confused: virtually every single developed and developing central bank is currently doing just that – printing money to fund the government deficit).

The central bank shelved its zero-financing policy this year to lend the government 10 billion cedis ($1.7 billion) to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the West African economy. The bank ended its explicit support of fiscal policy just as Ghana’s budget deficit is projected to reach 11.4% of GDP by the end of December, more than triple the initial target of 4.7% of GDP.

The article concludes:

And so one MMT experiment ends with a whimper, although since no other central bank is willing to to take “difficult decisions”, it will be a while before Ghana’s shining example is followed by other central banks.

Ghana’s cedi has had its most stable spell in more than a decade this year, weakening 2.6% to the U.S. dollar. That’s even as the global health crisis drove Ghana’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product to 71% in September, the highest in four years. And now that wanton money printing is out of the agenda, the cedi may soon well be one of the world’s most valuable fiat currencies.

Hang on to your hat. I don’t want to see the day when a loaf of bread costs ten dollars, but that is the danger on the road ahead.

American Ingenuity At Work

Zero Hedge posted an article today about a New York City pub owner who has had enough of Governor Cuomo’s shutdown orders that have closed his business.

The article reports:

In what is a hilarious bit of irony for Democrat politicians in New York, a pub that had its liquor license yanked due to Covid rules has now declared itself an “Autonomous Zone” and is continuing to do business.

The bar, called Mac’s Public House in Staten Island, said publicly: “We refuse to abide by any rules and regulations put forth by the Mayor of NYC and Governor of NY State.”

They also painted “AUTONOMOUS ZONE” on the sidewalk outside the bar and put signs in the windows claiming “As of November 20, 2020, we hereby declare this establishment an AUTONOMOUS ZONE”.

The pub had its liquor license revoked by the state and was slapped with thousands of dollars in fines after defying New York’s latest move to “orange zone status” (whatever that means) thanks to the very huge brain of “Emmy nominated” Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

Co-owner Danny Presti told The Post: “At this point, we’re OK with it, because we’re not paying it. [The Sheriff’s Department] is issuing us $1,000 fines, so they keep coming back. We’re still here. We’re not letting them in.”

Co-owner Keith McAlarney said in a recent YouTube video: “We’re not backing down. You think you scared me by . . . saying I don’t have a license now to serve liquor now? Well guess what? That liquor license is on the wall. If that liquor license is gonna come off the wall, it’s gonna be done by Cuomo. You wanna come down here and pull that license off the wall?”

To me, the interesting thing about the lockdowns is who they impact. Many small businesses have been forced out of business while big box stores and Amazon are making huge profits. Most of the people who frequent bars are not in an age group that is at high risk of complications from the coronavirus.

My husband and I have recently recovered from the coronavirus. We have no idea how or when we became infected–we wore our masks when required and we not generally in large groups of people. We continually interacted with the same ten or so people that we generally interact with. No one in that group of people has been infected by the virus. When we began feeling like we were coming down with a cold, we went into isolation because we didn’t what to share whatever we had. We didn’t find out it was coronavirus until five days into it. However, during those five days, we self-isolated. Closing down businesses is an overreaction. Years ago when I took a course on food safety, one of the things mentioned was that if a restaurant employee showed up at work with a cold, he could be assigned to chores that did not involve food preparation or interacting with customers. A little bit of common sense would solve a lot of the spread of this virus.

 

A Very Valid Question

Zero Hedge posted an article today that asks a very interesting question.

This is the question?

Why Does Biden Have So Many More Votes Than Democrat Senators In Swing States?

The article continues:

In most elections, the majority of votes are cast “down the ticket” – meaning, a voter supports both party’s presidential nominee and state Congressional candidates. In fact, according to Pew Research, “overwhelming shares of voters who are supporting Trump and Biden say they are also supporting the same-party candidate for Senate.”

Typically, this means that that the number of votes for a presidential candidate and that party’s Senate candidates are relatively close.

Twitter user “US Rebel” (@USRebellion1776), however, found that the number of votes cast for Joe Biden far exceeds those cast for that state’s Senate candidates in swing states, while those cast for Trump and GOP Senators remains far closer.

The article includes the following tweets from US Rebel:

Hmmm.

 

 

When Reality Meets Spin

Yesterday Zero Hedge posted an article about how the crisis at the southern United States border is impacting New Mexico. Actually it is impacting both the State of New Mexico and the politics of New Mexico.

The article reports:

The radical-leftist governor of New Mexico, who sent National Guard troops packing in February, needs federal help now, it seems. She’s in the Swamp to beg for funding as illegal immigrants overwhelm the state. After months of neglecting the border cities and towns, toeing the DC elite party line of no “crisis” here, and facing a veritable citizens’ revolt in the Land of Enchantment, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is demanding federal government assistance for the dire situation – one she exacerbated through indifference to constituents.

And it comes on the heels of yet another county drawing a line in the sand and refusing any further influx of illegal immigrants seeking asylum. Sierra County, boasting a population 11,116 and a 21% poverty rate, joined Otero and Lincoln counties in passing resolutions opposing the relocation of migrants to their communities.

This isn’t just happening in these three counties, either – it’s an untenable and cruel situation being thrust on an impoverished state by government officials who seem to be mere puppets for the Democratic Party.

According to Deming City Administrator Aaron Sera, in Luna County, buses unload between 300 and 500 immigrants each day. As a town of a 14,183, it has been mercilessly overwhelmed by the governor’s dangerous game of partisan politics. Even larger enclaves, such as Las Cruces, have been overrun with illegal aliens, completely depleting community and local government resources as they’re  forced to house and care for 6,000 asylum seekers – and all in a matter of four short weeks.

The purpose of political asylum is to provide refuge for those people whose lives are in danger in their home countries–either for political, religious, or other reasons. Political asylum does not mean that you can simply enter another country illegally in hopes of either working there or living off of the largess of the people who live there.

America needs to redo its immigration policies. We need to help people in poor countries, but we also need to bring in people who will contribute to America, not take from it. There has to be a balance of those two things if America is to survive. This crisis is the result of Congressional inaction. How many bills have you seen come out of the current House of Representatives that included a common-sense approach to immigration? How many immigration bills in recent years have reflected common sense?

We need to seal the border and enact sane immigration laws. Let’s cut the cost of legal immigration and welcome those who want to help grow America.

The Obama Administration’s Economic Policies Are Not Working

Zero Hedge posted a story today on the latest jobs numbers.

The article included the following charts:

https://www.rightwinggranny.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/not-in-labor-force.jpg

The article reports:

In what was an “unambiguously” unpleasant April jobs payrolls report, with a March revision dragging that month’s job gain to the lowest level since June of 2012, the fact that the number of Americans not in the labor force rose once again, this time to 93,194K from 93,175K, with the result being a participation rate of 69.45 or just above the lowest percentage since 1977, will merely catalyze even more upside to the so called “market” which continues to reflect nothing but central bank liquidity, and thus – the accelerating deterioration of the broader economy.

Our economy is not doing well. It is time for a change of policy.